Kedem Compound in Silwan—Appeal to the National Council
As we recall, the Regional Committee approved the plan for the Kedem Compound to be built at the entrance to the village of Silwan and across from the Old City Walls of Jerusalem, despite hearing the objections in the beginning of April. The next step in the battle against the construction of the complex is filing an appeal to the Appeals Committee of the National Council for Planning and Construction. The appeal allows us to further discuss the plan, keep up the public pressure, and present new arguments to a forum that has national authority and responsibility (rather than a district one).
The arguments of Emek Shaveh and a group of archaeologists that joined us are based on the program’s violations, which run counter to rules and decisions set by the District Committee itself.
For example, the District Committee demanded that an antiquities conservation plan be submitted along with the plan. The IAA did not present a conservation plan, since this could only be presented after the excavation is concluded. Nevertheless the Committee ignored its own rules and approved the plan. In addition, while the Committee permitted damage to about 3% of the archaeological layer for the purpose of building the foundations of the complex, the compound’s planners specifically said that the violation will be about 5% and maybe more. In the appeal to the Planning Committee we highlight the planning flaws of the complex. In addition, we demonstrate the compound’s impact on Silwan’s population and the disproportionate scale of this structure as compared to the village structures.
The National Appeals Committee does not address the political arguments, but ‘Kedem Compound’—which is liable to conceal the antiquities within a huge structure that is alienated from its environment—will strengthen the visitor’s sense of being in an historic site, and not in a Palestinian village. The complex will face the tourist and prayer areas in the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall.
‘Kedem Compound’ is central to the other plans of the settlers in Silwan and the Old City of Jerusalem. In addition to promoting the compound and the ‘Bible Hall’ within it, the settlers are promoting a development and construction plan around the village spring (Spring House Tourism Centre), and are continuing to dig tunnels under the village, the Old City, and beyond. These plans are part of the government’s policy to create an irreversible situation (or one that is difficult to change) whose result is: Silwan is part of Israeli Jerusalem.
July 10, 2014
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